Saturday, December 9, 2017

From a strange planet - 11

Road webcam fascination - The silent pictures of Scandinavian traffic-webcams have a strange fascination for me. My previous outpourings of webcam obsession are here: part_1, part_2, part_3, part_4, part_5, part_6, part_7, part_8, part_9 and part_10. I've used video, fiction, literary criticism, art, topography and surveillance technologies to think through this window on far-away places.

Several years now I've watched a streetlamp in Norway. It stands in the middle of a roundabout in Svortland. This place is fascinating. This is how it looks right now.
In the summer, with the sun high in the sky, the place is transparent. The house, high on the hill at the left is clearly visible. The Chirico-like arch structure, lower, to the right of the house draws your attention to itself and asks: "What am I?" The church steeple, in the middle of the picture shows the depth of field and draws you towards itself. The street signs are illuminated and nicely outlined.
In winter a white magic circle appears at the foot of the streetlight. It lasts through the first thin snows. Later everything turns white. In this light the house, the arches and the church all disappear and merge with the horizon.
Behind the streetlight there's the spectacle of many types of sky in different colors and patterns. Clouds appear and disappear. Storms come and go. Different directions of sunlight lead to different details in the landscape. Sometimes the water merges with the sky, at other times it merges with the land. The streetlight waits for the night.
At night the streetlight awakens. It unfolds itself carefully, first making vague copies of itself and then sending out thin feelers of light and creating ufo's. When the circumstances are good it grows and flowers. It becomes a bright supernova exploding in the night. Passers-by don't notice this mystery. The only way to see it is through the webcam of the Norwegian road institute.

Later ... I couldn't resist looking up the features I see in the background. Maybe I shouldn't have done that. Maybe I should left the mystery untouched. But the Chirico-like arch structures in the background prove to be the windows of an office building. It's clear how the optical effect arises.
The church looks exactly as I had imagined it. White, old, Lovecraftian, a bit like I imagine New England to look like.
There is no good picture of the houses. The Google car did no go that way. 

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